AbstractBACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES. The lymphoproliferative disorders of large granular lymphocytes (LGLD) are divided into two groups: T-cell type and NK-cell type. These entities may be either asymptomatic or associated with autoimmune manifestations (especially cytopenias). A number of surface receptors, expressed by NK-cells and some T-lymphocyte subsets repress cytotoxicity and cytokine production upon ligation with HLA class I molecules and are clonally expressed in theses lymphoproliferative disorders. These cytotoxic lymphocytes can lyse erythroid progenitors in vitro, and the physiologic lower levels of HLA class I antigens on the erythroid lineage may contribute to this form of autoimmunity. It is conceivable that the clinical outcome of T-LGLD might be influenced by the expression of MHC class I inhibitory receptors. DESIGN AND METHODS. We analyzed the surface expression of these molecules, lectin-like heterodimers (CD94/NKG2A) or killer immunoglobulin (Ig)-like receptors (KIR) and another Ig-like inhibitory receptor, termed ILT2 or LIR-1 in CD8+ cells from 12 cases of ab T-LGLD using specific monoclonal antibodies. RESULTS. None of the LGLD cases had anemia and 11 of 12 patients remain asymptomatic. KIR and CD94/NKG2A expression was detected on CD8+ populations only in some cases of T-LGLD. By contrast, our observations revealed that ILT2 expression was markedly higher in CD8+ cells from LGLD patients than from healthy donors. INTERPRETATION AND CONCLUSIONS. Expression of the ILT2 inhibitory receptor for HLA class I molecules on LGLD cells might indeed contribute to preventing their autoreactivity. Further studies are required to evaluate the expression/function of the ILT2 receptor in patients who eventually become symptomatic. The development of cytopenias in LGLD patients must involve other self-reactive activating receptors. Analysis of the expression and function of triggering NKR in LGLD needs to be carefully addressed.
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Vol. 86 No. 5 (2001): May, 2001 : Articles
Ferrata Storti Foundation, Pavia, Italy
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